CAZ working, Rees claims as NO2 breaches limits


Air pollution in Bristol is still above legal limits after the city council brought in a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) that exempts private vehicles.

The council launched the Class D CAZ in November 2022 following a direction from central government to reduce nitrogen dioxide pollution ‘in the shortest possible time’.

Despite this, the authority, under mayor Marvin Rees OBE, chose not to include private cars in the CAZ, which charges that do not meet emissions criteria.

It argued that a package of other measures could bring down pollution levels as quickly, but chose not to adopt those measures in addition to a class C CAZ charging private vehicles.

Mr Rees boasted that the council had secured exemptions for over 350,000 journeys in the first four months of the scheme’s operation.

A report to the council’s cabinet notes that to be successful, the CAZ needs to result in an annual average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration for a calendar year (January to December) below the 40µg/m3 limit at all relevant locations.

Source: Bristol City Council

However, the report reveals that six locations in the city, four of which are in the CAZ, have NO2 levels of 40µg/m3.

It adds that before the CAZ was introduced, there were 18 sites with NO2 concentrations greater than 40µg/m3.

In the foreword of the CAZ Cabinet report, Mr Rees, said: ‘The air that we all breathe is cleaner than it was in November 2022. Nitrogen dioxide pollution is down by ten percent across Bristol and is almost 13 percent lower inside the Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

‘Outside the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Children’s Hospital, nitrogen dioxide is down by around 20 percent. And almost nine in ten journeys through the CAZ are now in compliant vehicles, up from a year ago.’

The council said that over its first year, after accounting for operating costs, including to the Department for Transport, the CAZ generated 'just under £26.4m'.

Mr Rees said the CAZ was never about making money for the council but ‘about clean air’.

He added: ‘If our progress cleaning up our air continues, then, in the not-too-distant future, the CAZ should come to an end.’

Mr Rees’ term as mayor will end in May, at which point the post will be abolished.

comments powered by Disqus